Me personally, I don't like vinegar. Not apple cider vinegar. Not even the common fall drink of apple cider! So what am I doing making apple cider vinegar? Well, because I can. :) Truly, that's about the only reason why. When I started learning how to make tinctures and herbal remedies, I learned that you can use vinegar to make them. So I thought maybe I should learn how to make vinegar in case I ever need to make a home made remedy out of it and not have it available. (Yes! I TOTALLY intend on learning to make vodka too! Shhhhhhh) Hey, if the world falls apart and I can't get to a store, I need to know how to do this stuff! So that was why I learned how to make apple cider vinegar. Now that I have it, I'll use it. I'll put some in the water bowl of our chickens for their gut health, I'll use it in place of other vinegars in cooking, and I'm sure I'll find other uses for it. Maybe even cleaning.
The process is simple enough. It really just mostly requires time.
Tools you'll need:
Apple peeler or knife to cut off your peels and cores
Distilled Water (cause it's free of metals, minerals, bacteria, etc)
Plastic lid that will fit inside of the containers neck
Coffee filter or cheesecloth
I'll start by saying that many of the directions I read online said to add sugar. I did not. That kind of defeated the whole purpose in my mind of making something from nature that turns out awesomely useful and untouched by chemicals and toxic ingredients. Why couldn't the natural sugars in the apples themselves do the job? Well, it did just fine.
First off, find your apple source. As I've mentioned before in an apple related post, go for organic apples. Even better is a old country person with apple trees willing to let you have them for free. Cause they certainly aren't spraying anything and don't want to have to pick them all up when they fall to mow the lawns! They are usually more than happy for you to take them off their hands.
So, that's step one. Find your good clean apple source.
Next, you can use those apples for making some homemade crockpot apple sauce, apple butter, or whatever you want to do with them. But save your peels and cores. Let them lay out for a couple of hours to turn brown. Why? I don't know. I just read directions from several places that said to do that, so I did.
Then, put your peels and cores in a jar and cover them with distilled water. Use something in the jar that will keep the apples submerged under the water so that they don't mold. I used a plastic lid from a cottage cheese container because I could bend it to get it in, then it would open back up to fit under the neck and keep everything underwater.
Then, use a coffee filter, cheese cloth, whatever you want, but it needs to be breathable, to put on top and secure. I used a hair rubber band. Remember, we're making vinegar here, so it will off gas as it ferments so you have to allow it to breath. Otherwise it will likely explode and leave a big stinky mess.
This next picture (under this) is what it looks like after a couple of weeks. I did need to stir it a couple of times as the apples all floated to the top leaving several inches of liquid at the bottom. I stirred it just to loosen it back up. Also, you'll need to add more water as it evaporates so that your apples stay submerged.
This is the beginning makings of the mother on top.
After 5 months of it sitting in my kitchen cabinet, occasionally adding more water and stirring, I took it out, used a cloth in the bottom of a colander and strained out all the apple pieces. This is what I have left. Apple cider vinegar. You can do the draining anywhere between 3-6 months based on how it's looking, the type of apples you use. (Sweeter apples have more sugar and ferment better than sour apples.) The temp in your house, etc. So just check it every now and then, taste it if you like the taste and strain it whenever you want. It's YOUR creation, so do what you want with it! Once it was strained, I put the apple remains in the compost box. Nothing went to waste!
See. Easy peasy. And wow was that so much cheaper than buying Braggs! My 2 gallons of apple peels and less than a gallon of distilled water came out to be a gallon plus a quart of apple cider vinegar. I only spent a couple of bucks total to make that! So.....go get your savings on!